ResourcesArrow right dark icon.
How to save money moving - long distance & interstate moves

How to save money moving - long distance & interstate moves

Melissa Richter

February 22, 2024
Green dot icon.
7 minutes
How to save money moving - long distance & interstate moves

Hiring Long Distance Movers

Saving money on a long distance move is a double edged sword: you don't want to overpay, but it would be a mistake to think you can game the system. Think of long distance moving companies ("Van Lines") like lawyers in court: they have played this game a million times and unfortunately, residents are at a disadvantage. A great place to start is to understand how these firms operate.

  • Most residents leave stuff off their moving inventory list, deliberately (save money) or accidentally (who really knows everything in their house?).
  • This puts movers on a decision: quote accurately and lose the deal, or quote to the resident's request and expect a moving day conflict?
  • Most movers choose to play along with the inaccurately low list of belongings, or even slim it down more to win the business with a lowball quote. They're pulling a judo move on you!
  • Ultimately, movers know that on moving day they have all the leverage. You're the one who has their life planned around getting this done on time! And once they have everything on their truck, you're cornered.

Now that you understand the movers' point of view, here's how to save money:

  • For every object, figure out how much it will cost to move it. For some reason, very few movers will give this to you - we will release a tool for this soon. Then decide: sell, move, toss, or give away?
  • Get independent moving cost estimates as a baseline
  • Use up as much stuff a possible - eat up your kitchen!
  • The more honest you are about what's moving, the more leverage you have. Remember, their business model often relies on lowballing you: honesty breaks their system. Remember, "Binding" quotes are only binding if the inventory doesn't change even a single toothpick.
  • Use videos or photos of all your stuff (this is what is for!), send it to multiple of the major van lines (avoid brokers), try to compare apples to apples pricing. Do not trust the itemized moving list ("survey") they do - go over it item by item and demand it be corrected before receiving a quote.
  • Let them know you're pricing out multiple movers and ask for their best deal upfront.
  • Avoid moving scams!
  • Remember that long distance movers ultimately price by weight. Put heavy small things like dumbbells in your vehicle and large light things (pillows, cushions) in the truck.

We'll go over how to interpret moving quotes in another article :-)

As always, if your stuff won't fill up most of a moving truck, usually recommends against using movers. In this scenario, the movers will often pack other people's belongings into the same truck: the risk of stuff being broken, lost, or ruined goes WAY up. The other customers are not going where you're going, so stuff will get unpacked, stored in a dirty wet warehouse, reloaded, late, etc.

Recent Articles

More info
Arrow right icon.
More info
Arrow right icon.
More info
Arrow right icon.